Bryan Fischer
Foundations of modern racism rooted in Darwin
By Bryan Fischer
April 9, 2009

While it is true that Darwin was himself an abolitionist, because he argued that all humans were descended from a common ancestor, his view of evolutionary progress inevitably led his followers down a path of reprehensible racism and even genocide.

As far as his theory that all men had a common ancestor, the theory that led him to oppose slavery, the Bible had beaten him to the punch by thousands of years, teaching on its very first pages that all of us share Adam and Eve as our forebears.

This is why Christianity declares in Acts 17:26 that God has "made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth."

When the Bible teaches us that all men (generic use) are made in the "image of God," it affirms the essential worth and dignity of every human being, regardless of race or level of sophistication.

Unfortunately, evolutionary theory opens the door to racism by advancing the theoretical possibility that some human beings may be higher up the evolutionary tree than other human beings and others may be lower on the food chain and in fact be missing links between apes and man.

As one of the world's leading evolutionists, Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard, said, "Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1859, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory." Darwin, of course, published his Origin of Species in 1859.

Evolutionists did the unthinkable in 1906: they put a young Congolese man, Ota Benga, in the monkey cage of the Bronx Zoo, and exhibited him as a transitional link between simians and white Europeans. (The information that follows is drawn from Ken Ham's excellent book, Darwin's Plantation.)

At the age of 20, Ota had been bought by an African explorer at a slave auction, by which time he was already a husband and father.

Brought to America in 1904, he was first exhibited as an "emblematic savage" at the St. Louis World's Fair. He was studied to learn how the "barbaric races" stacked up against intellectually defective Caucasians on intelligence tests.

Said Scientific American in 1904, of Ota and his fellow pygmies, "They are small, ape-like, elfish creatures ... while they exhibit many ape-like features in their bodies, they possess a certain alertness which appears to make them more intelligent than other Negroes ... They live by means of hunting and snaring, eking this out by means of thieving from the big Negroes ... They have seemingly become acquainted with metal only through contact with superior beings."

In 1906, the explorer presented Ota to Dr. Hornady, the director of the Bronx Zoological Gardens, which led to the September 9, 1906 headline in The New York Times, "Bushman shares a cage with Bronx Park apes."

Said the Times article, Dr. Hornady "apparently saw no difference between a wild beast and the little black man; and for the first time in any American zoo, a human being was being displayed in a cage."

In the monkey cage, he was the object of stares, jeers and laughter, and was pelted with coins and stones. He was now a prisoner, as Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis says, of "Darwin's Plantation."

By September 10, the Times was reporting that "from almost every corner of the garden could be heard the question, 'Where is the pygmy?' The answer was, 'In the monkey house.'"

Asked one German visitor, "Ist das ein Mensch?" "Is it a man?"

The Times reported on September 11 that Dr. Hornady was a confirmed believer in Darwinianism and believed that there was "a close analogy of the African savage to the apes" and that he "maintained a hierarchical view of the races."

By September 16, 40,000 visitors crowded the zoo. Protests came from a group of concerned black ministers that "our race ... is depressed enough without exhibiting one of us with the apes." The Times' response: "The reverend colored brother should be told that evolution ... is now taught in the textbooks of all the schools, and that it is no more debatable than the multiplication table." Smoke that, Reverend.

The Zoo finally decided to let Ota out of his cage, but this only made things worse for him, as the following Sunday another 40,000 zoo visitors "chased him about the grounds all day, howling, cheering, and yelling." Added the Times, "Some of them poked him in the ribs, others tripped him up, all laughed at him."

Ota was finally released from the zoo, but he spiraled downward in depression, irrationality and hostility. He finally shot himself in the heart in 1916.

Darwin himself planted the seeds for this kind of treatment of our fellow human beings. He compared pygmies such as Ota to "lower organisms," and labeled them "the low integrated inhabitants of the Andaman Islands." He himself said he would rather be descended from a monkey than from a "Savage," an appellation he hung on American Indians and almost every ethnic group whose physical characteristics didn't resemble that of white Europeans.

It's no accident that the subtitle of Darwin's seminal work, Origin of Species, was The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

A scramble soon ensued among museum curators and others for "missing link specimens," which led to perhaps 10,000 or more of Australia's Aborigines being shipped to British museums. Some specimens were obtained through murder, to the point where the curator of the Australian Museum in Sydney produced a pamphlet with instructions on how to plug bullet wounds from freshly killed "specimens."

There is an unbroken link that connects Darwin to Hitler. Historian Arthur Keith says if we put ourselves in Germany in 1942 we can see a Hitler who is "devoutly convinced that evolution provides the only real basis for a national policy ... he has consciously sought to make the practice of Germany conform to the theory of evolution."

Fortunately, most evolutionists today recoil at these attitudes, but in order to do so they must set aside reason, which otherwise would compel them to defend these practices as the logical outworking of Darwinism. They reject racism in spite of their pet theory of evolution, not because of it.

The fact that they do in fact reject these implications so strongly is an indication of some remaining vestiges of a biblical worldview in the West.

The contrast between evolution and the Judeo-Christian view of man is simple: the Bible teaches us that man is worse than he once was, while evolution teaches us that man is better than he once was. Which of those two views is easier to believe?

Chapter 1: Darwin's Plantation — Answers in Genesis

© Bryan Fischer


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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